Scissors – Silhouettes and Stick Puppets (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , April 20, 2008 9:50 pm

So what to do for this week’s Unplugged Project theme: scissors? We could try a little Modular Kirigami, or some traditional Kirigami. In fact why not create an exact 3D miniature replica of our town using only one sheet of paper and some scissors!! Well…maybe not. But it was a fun thought to consider.

Instead we decided to tackle something that I remembered from my childhood, and which seemed a bit more manageable in scope – silhouettes. As is often the case with these Unplugged Projects, there was an evolution: the silhouettes became stick puppets, which led to a puppet show and even a shadow puppet show!

Here are the materials: desk lamp, white paper, masking tape, pencil, glue stick, dark colored construction paper and, of course, scissors.

We set ourselves up in the guest room which has heavy velvet curtains that can make the room quite dark, even in the daytime. We put out a small chair parallel to a blank wall. We then set the lamp on a table as far away from the chair as possible (the farther away the lamp is, the smaller the shadow will be and you want the whole head to be able to fit on one piece of paper). My oldest daughter sat down and I masking-taped some paper to the wall where her shadow fell.

I traced around the outline. I repeated the process with my 5 year-old son, but not my 2 year-old since I knew she wouldn’t sit still long enough.

The kids got stuffed animals and made their own silhouettes of them:

Next we sat at the kitchen table and glued our white paper outlines to pieces of dark construction paper:

Then we carefully cut along the pencil markings:

Once it was cut out, all we had to do was flip the whole thing over to see a lovely dark silhouette! I glued the children’s black silhouettes to some white poster board and experimented with framing. I think I shall have to redo my son’s though, since his haircut makes him look a bit like a light bulb, or a Saturday Night Live conehead (he’s on the left, below).

The children had the brilliant idea of coloring the white sides of their silhouettes and attaching craft sticks to make stick puppets:

I was then presented with a puppet show over the arm of the sofa:

Their next inspiration was to try a shadow puppet show in the guest room using our desk lamp.

One simple project snowballed, and turned into an afternoon of fun!

TIP: I would eventually really like to make a small (4″x 6″ or 5″x 7″) silhouette of each my three children to put, matted, together in one frame. Since I don’t have a lamp powerful enough or a room large enough to be able to make silhouettes that small, I plan on reducing my tracings using a photocopier and then will follow the same simple procedure.


If you joined us for the scissors project, thank you and please link to your post in Mr. Linky. For those of you who have chosen to turn off all those screens for Turn-Off Week (whether you are participating in the TV-Turnoff Blog Challenge or not), I shall expect you to produce true masterpieces for next week’s Unplugged Project (lots of free time, right??)!


In honor of Spring, next week’s Unplugged Project theme will be:


Remember, the theme is only a starting point. If you can’t think of anything directly bird-related, then what is associated with birds? Feathers, nests, eggs…any of those things “count!” Be as creative as you want to!


16 Responses to “Scissors – Silhouettes and Stick Puppets (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. Nature Mama says:

    Love the silhouette puppets :) That is a really cute idea! We have done the traditional silhouettes but we just might have to broaden our horizon and add in our favorite ‘stuffies’ *grin*. I haven’t had enough time the last couple of weeks to join in but I’m hoping we will next week :)
    Have a wonderful week!

  2. ToddleBits says:

    These are awesome! I’ve been wanting to do silhouettes of my girls as a keepsake. Thanks for showing how it’s done!

  3. What great ideas! Those silhouette’s look great – you should frame them!

    And a puppet show on top of it all? This was a great project!

  4. 3d kids says:

    […] Scissors – Silhouettes and Stick Puppets (Weekly Unplugged Project) […]

  5. Julie says:

    so, I was pooped on at the zoo (by birds) two weeks in a row…can I blog about it if it happens again this week? :)

  6. Christin says:

    I have some bird projects that we’ve already done…do I have to do a new one or can I use an old one? LOL :)

    Neat project you guys did! Thank you!

  7. Kate in NJ says:

    We were outside and without a camera today, so we didn’t join in, but I have loved seeing what everyone else did.
    I have a silhouette of P sitting on my piano..just waiting for a frame.

  8. Kim says:

    Great job!! the puppets are perfect! very nice idea!! And you wont believe it, but we were going to do the silhoutte thing too this week!! But I was goign to use black cut outs on white paper…opposite of you. How funny!!

  9. Ann says:

    I LOVE that idea. especially the puppet show! what a blast!

  10. MatchMomma says:

    hi! I didn’t blog our project this week… “screen” free at our house… so I had rules about what i could and couldn’t do lol. BUT I did add our project pictures to our fickr account so you can follow the link to see our photo’s of our sissor project! FUN!!!

  11. Jamie says:

    This is a neat idea! I would love to try it someday. I’m linking this idea so I remember it! Thanks!

  12. PJ says:

    We’ve been meaning to try scissors, so this was great fun! JM is perfecting the two-handed scissor technique! Although we didn’t do a silhouette in the conventional way (due to my squirmy 2-year old!) we got one on camera that I’ll put onto construction paper. Thanks for the great ideas!

  13. I love this project! I did it years ago with my Cub Scouts when I was a den mother…had forgotten about it! It will be something to do this summer when my 6 year old grandson comes to visit.

  14. Fred says:

    I did find your website for Silhouettes and Stick Puppets very interesting and I will link it to my site to help children learn how to make stick puppet of themselves. Good Job on the explanation. This is going to be a perfect match with the Super Star Theater, puppet theater we created. A fund raiser option has been created for parent and children raising money for children in needs. Check it out!

  15. Julie says:

    I read your post a few weeks ago and remembered this site: but couldn’t find it then …so I found it tonight.

  16. Maria João says:

    It is a nice thing to do with children. Last year I made something similar with my students – we cut the paper and each one looked for photo magazines to fill the form.

    Sorry about my english

    Maria Joãos last blog post..8º – A COR (Projectos)

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